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The Colossus of Maroussi

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,252 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
The Colossus of Maroussi is an impressionist travelogue by Henry Miller, written in 1939 and first published in 1941 by Colt Press of San Francisco. As an impoverished writer in need of rejuvenation, Miller travelled to Greece at the invitation of his friend, the writer Lawrence Durrell. The text is inspired by the events that occurred. The text is ostensibly a portrait of ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 17th 1975 by New Directions (first published 1941)
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Zorba the Greek by Nikos KazantzakisThe Iliad by HomerMy Family and Other Animals by Gerald DurrellChasing Athens by Marissa TejadaCorelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
Books Set in Greece
15th out of 149 books — 56 voters
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. SebaldLabyrinths by Jorge Luis BorgesJourney to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand CélineLast Evenings on Earth by Roberto BolañoThe Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
Best New Directions Books
53rd out of 110 books — 117 voters


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Community Reviews

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Henry Martin
Sep 14, 2014 Henry Martin rated it it was amazing
When he was not tackling sex and philosophy, Henry Miller traveled. The Colossus of Maroussi is a book of those later times, when he, an "American Savage", entered the world of peace, beauty, and most of all, simplicity he was longing for while living in America.

Nothing could prepare him for what he encountered in Greece, neither the streets of New York, nor the streets of Paris - as both paled in comparison. Although enamored with France, Miller's passion for Europe goes way farther in this bo
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Phil
Jan 09, 2008 Phil rated it really liked it
This beautiful and nearly flawless travel memoir is marred by this unfortunate sentence on page 121: "On the way to the library, I made kaka in my pants." Wha? Here's this fabulous surreal narrative about Greece, and suddenly the narrator doesn't just shit himself, he "makes kaka?" Skip page 121.
Owen
Aug 01, 2012 Owen rated it really liked it
Shelves: greece, american-lit
Henry Miller's reputation as a writer needs little verification from the likes of me. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to be able to confirm the abilities of a truly great author. This example of his work is in some ways a peculiar one since it was written during a turning point in modern history, namely the Second World War, and was inevitably a turning point in Miller's own life as well.

Henry Miller has not always had kind things to say about his native U. S. A. Here, in "The Colossus of Marouss
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Whitaker
Apr 28, 2009 Whitaker rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, 2009-read
On the Road in Greece.

Okay, that’s probably an exaggeration, but the sentiment is, I think, accurate. As does Kerouac in On the Road, Miller displays the same quickening to judgment, the same contempt for the bourgeois, the same obsession for the real. Greece to him is real. Unfortunately, the Greece that he sees is anything but. Miller falls in love with a vision of Greece that is as much made of present Greek poverty and past Greek myth. Part lengthy diatribe against modern civilization, part
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Babis
Sep 22, 2009 Babis rated it did not like it
This was the worst book I have read in months. Incoherent, the style disgusting, raving endlessly about everything and nothing at all. I had to skip pages all the time, there is no other way to read this book. I have heard he was quite a helpless writer and a pornographer, but I could not guess how really bad he actually is: he is unreadable.

As for Katsimbalis and his gang (the 30s generation) you won't get to learn a lot about them from this book - it simply does not deliver the goods. Very
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Özgür Daş
Miller bu anlatısına 'en iyi metnim' demiş yaşayıp da yazdıkları kuşkusuz doğruluyor bu söylemi, yerinde olup Katsimbalis'in gerçekle kurmacayı harmanladığı hikâyelerini, Seferis'in caz plaklarını dinlemeyi Durrell'la adaların ücra köşelerine yolculuk etmeyi çok isterdim.

"Bütün insanlığa barış ve daha dolu bir hayat dilerim."
(s. 210)
Liza Bolitzer
Nov 18, 2007 Liza Bolitzer rated it it was ok
I always think that i will like travel books when i return from traveling, but that has never been the case, especially when they are written by self centered wankers like Henry Miller.
Loran
Apr 02, 2007 Loran rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nick, but he's already read it.
Miller finally departs from his shock-therapy style of incorporating the obscene in order to leap from the earth, but in no way does this diminish his poise, as he frolicks for a year in Greece with Lawrence Durrell. This work is as fanciful and full of poppycock as any other great piece by the man whose work I love so dearly I had some of it tatooed on my belly... but here the often under-praised sooth-sayer concerns himself essentially with human happiness and the folly of self-imposed sufferi ...more
Beth
May 10, 2011 Beth rated it did not like it
I'm so disappointed. What a hunk of junk. I don't know what this book is supposed to be, but a travel book, it is not. This is more like some self-centered, old-fashioned guy's philosophical blathering about a trip to Greece he took ages ago -- except it's not even interesting, nor is it funny, and it doesn't make a lick of sense. He goes on and on for paragraphs and paragraphs with no seeming point, and doesn't have anything interesting to say. The best thing I can say about this book is that t ...more
Zanna
Jul 30, 2013 Zanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greece, europe, travel
I found much of this book unreadable. Occasional luminous passages and insights nestle between large swathes of nonsense in which Miller abuses the language. Self-centred, self-indulgent ramblings of a privileged white guy abroad. Gross.
Rick Skwiot
Nov 20, 2012 Rick Skwiot rated it it was amazing
Some critics call "The Colossus of Maroussi"--Henry Miller`s account of his trip to Greece on the eve of World War II--the greatest travel book ever. But, like all great travel books, it's much more than mere depiction of beautiful landscapes, missed connections, bad weather, and surly waiters--though Miller recounts those as well. Rather, the book stands as a compelling paean to the Greek spirit, to liberty, and to life--as well as a barbaric yawp prefiguring the coming cataclysm.

The Canadian c
...more
Sabra Embury
Oct 17, 2010 Sabra Embury rated it liked it
Driving through Big Sur from San Francisco to LA, I stopped by the Henry Miller Memorial Library and bought The Colossus of Maroussi; it was recommended by the shop-keep as "Miller's favorite work written by himself." Tropic of Cancer was already in my pile of to-read, road-trip-reading material after recommendations for its "dense, sexual force." So I figured: Why not a phase? I need to know more about Miller, and the subversive style which has made him a legend.

Colussus of Maroussi had me run
...more
Ana Carvalheira
Nov 02, 2015 Ana Carvalheira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Embora não me sinta muito atraída pelas edições mainstream da obra de Henry Miller publicadas em Portugal (nunca me seduziu a leitura do Trópico de Câncer ou do Trópico de Capricórnio, assim como a trilogia Sexus, Plexus e Nexus, títulos de referência deste autor americano), foi através dos trabalhos, digamos, secundários, que optei por iniciar a abordagem à sua obra.

“Big Sur e as Laranjas de Hieronymus Bosch” transportou-me para a génese da Beat Generation donde viriam a despontar nomes como J
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John David
May 09, 2012 John David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
On the recommendation of his friend and fellow author Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller set out for Greece in 1939. After a decade of frenzied writing in which both “Tropic of Cancer “and “Tropic of Capricorn” were composed, Miller’s intention was really nothing more than to relax in preparation for a journey to Tibet in which he planned to, in a popular phrase Miller himself would have despised, “find himself.”

“Colossus of Maroussi” is pure prosopography, which isn’t of course to say that he does
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Donna
May 18, 2016 Donna rated it did not like it
Too bad he never read Homer. It might have helped.
Jane
Mar 07, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Miller's praise for the Land of Greece, her light and her people is genuinely touching. It makes one want to experience the greatness of the place, to be reborn like him. You also get to know more about him in this book. He's a madman and very opinionated but he's also an endearing romantic. His prose is straightforward and beautiful. His accounts were interesting, some really funny.

For people who stereotyped him as misogynistic and egoistic, you know nothing about him.
Janez Hočevar
Miller's journey to Greece before the outbreak of the Second World War is a rough, poetic, cultural, philosophic hommage to Greece. It took me quite some time to grasp and comprehend what Miller wanted to say. His descriptions of Greece, of its people, of its art and of its past really compell the individual to ask himself/herself some important questions, like who we are, where are we going, what is our purpose in life. I have never experienced that in such a strong way like in Miller's Colossu ...more
Mike
Jul 12, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone going to Greece
Recommended to Mike by: Travelin

Greece has been sneaking up on me lately. First, it was just reading about the debt crisis in the paper and discussing it with my father, whose take is that ‘the Greeks have gotten lazy.’ Then I agreed to read Herodotus’s The Histories with my buddy Kareem. All well and good- still nothing terribly suspicious. But then I started to read Henry Miller’s account of traveling throughout Greece in 1939, while sitting in a diner near my house. As I read, I heard one of the owners of the diner, a very
...more
Ametista
Jul 22, 2012 Ametista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Fu un viaggio nella luce. La terra era illuminata dalla propria luce interna. A Micene ho camminato sui morti incandescenti; a Epidauro ho sentito un silenzio così intenso che per una frazione di secondo ho udito battere il grande cuore del mondo e ho compreso il significato del dolore e della sofferenza; a Tirinto sono rimasto nell'ombra dell'uomo ciclopico e ho sentito la vampa dell'occhio interiore che ora è diventato una ghiandola malaticcia; ad Argo tutta la pianura era una nebbia infuocat ...more
Michael sinkofcabbages
May 08, 2009 Michael sinkofcabbages rated it it was amazing
the greatest travel book ever written?? O.K, Invisible Cites is probably number one. But this is a close second. I know many people are not really into miller. He can get kind of tiring if read one after the other. But even if you dont care for Miller; you really should try this one. Those over-the-top rants he always has in his books are truely inspiring when applied to traveling. To see someone so in love with the spirit of a place is such a wonderful thing. But this is not one of those Miller ...more
Flaneurette
May 23, 2011 Flaneurette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, greece
I don’t think books should be published just because the author is famous. “The Colossus of Maroussi” did to a large extent capture the Greek spirit and the wonderful ways of the Greek people but I had expected a lot more depth from a great writer with a great love for a great country. I particularly liked some of Miller’s descriptions of the Greek's sense of destiny and danger, and his ranting on Americans and the English is quite amusing. There is however too much rant, too little direction, a ...more
Laura  Yan
Aug 29, 2012 Laura Yan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have very mixed feelings about Henry Miller--some of his short form fiction and essays are brilliant, but when it comes to a rambling travelogue like this, I am less convinced. It is not so much a book about Greece as a book about Miller--and that's just dandy, Miller has a fascinating mind, a personality at once given to passion and judgment. His convictions are frantically, at times, beautifully written, but in other instances they simply become tiring, a never ending rampage and tribute to ...more
Allen
Jun 21, 2015 Allen rated it did not like it
Promised myself to try to get to 1/3 but quit at 1/4 after discovering one could skip 6 pages, not notice and that it made no difference. No plot, no characters, just incoherent babble.

Henry Miller was one of the names of literary giants to which I was introduced in the biography of George Orwell. Miller is best known for his novels "Tropic of Cancer" and "Tropic of Capricorn". This book was recommended by a friend who is still a friend as he has recommended other books which I have thoroughly e
...more
Khaled Awad
Mar 20, 2016 Khaled Awad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

يصف هذا الكتاب رحلة هنري ميللر في اليونان، واليونان بلد مُلهم لكبار الكتاب عبر التاريخ،
لكن لا يكتفي ميللر بوصف اليونان ، بل يتحدث -كالعادة - عن كل شيء...
عندما تقرأ لهنري ميللر لاتعرف من أين يبدأ ولا أين ينتهي، لأنه دائماً يحاول أن يؤكد قوله:
(أفضل القصص التي سمعتها هي بلا نهاية،
وأفضل الكتب هي التي لا أذكر عقدتها أبداً،
وأفضل الاشخاص هم من لا أصل معهم إلى أي نتيجة....)

من عشية الحرب العالمية الثانية يقدم لنا هنري ميللر، يقول:
(الكل يسير في الاتجاه الخاطئ.... هذه واحدة من أسوأ لحظات تاريخ الجنس ال
...more
Anna
Mar 28, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
Delicious if you like passionate men who are passionate about Greece and probably stoned when writing.
Angelica
Jun 20, 2010 Angelica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Self-indulgent blathering.
Amir
Apr 01, 2016 Amir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not be fooled by the back covers that classify this book as a travelogue. It's by no means only that, but much more. It is a manifesto of the soul if you will, an ode to Greece with all its splendors, marvels and myths.
Miller went to Greece, and there he arises a new man, which is "an angel in essence." In Greece, Miller is reborn, and what emerges out of his travels is something divine and godlike. And so does the reader after reading this book, even if to a lesser extent, he/she goes throug
...more
Milena
May 12, 2015 Milena rated it really liked it
"Съществуват хиляда начина да разговаряш и думите не помагат, ако липсва душа."

Един от авторите, които съм чела в захлас, вървейки, без да се страхувам дали ще се спъна и падна, е Хенри Милър. Той е способен така да те увлече в това, което е написал, че облаците да се слеят със земята и всичко да стане едно цяло. За мен той е писател с главно „П“, колкото и банално да звучи. Или казано по друг начин – той е писател до мозъка на костите си, дълбоко в сърцевината си…

"Всеки, който твърди, че жадува
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Mihai Zodian
Dec 28, 2014 Mihai Zodian rated it it was amazing
“Henry Miller, Colosul din Maroussi, Polirom, Iași, 216 p.

Dezordine, întârziere, înșelăciuni, moleșeală, un timp ce pare etern… Uneori, ideea că cineva ar aprecia această La dolce vita balcanică poate părea paradoxală și totuși, Henry Miller și-a propus să ne convingă de contrariu. Refuzând America, plictisindu-se de Franța, autorul-personaj principal își introduce cititorii într-o lume fascinantă, unde regulile vieții normale par suspendate.

Cum sunt legat sentimental de Dobrogea, niște strămoș
...more
Olga Tikhonova
Боги были соизмеримы с человеком: их создал человеческий дух. Во Франции, как повсюду в Западном мире, эта связь между человеческим и божественным разорвана. Скептицизм и паралич, порожденные этим разрывом, изменившим самую природу человека, объясняют причину неизбежного крушения нашей нынешней цивилизации. Если люди перестают верить, что когда-нибудь станут богами, они непременно станут червями.
Генри Миллер, «Колосс Маруссийский».


Генри Миллер известен своими скандальными книгами о сексе. Чита
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Henry Miller sought to reestablish the freedom to live without the conventional restraints of civilization. His books are potpourris of sexual description, quasi-philosophical speculation, reflection on literature and society, surrealistic imaginings, and autobiographical incident.

After living in Paris in the 1930s, he returned to the United States and settled in Big Sur, Calif. Miller's first tw
...more
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“The best stories I have heard were pointless, the best books those whose plot I can never remember, the best individuals those whom I never get anywhere with. Though it has been practised on me time and again I never cease to marvel how it happens that with certain individuals whom I know, within a few minutes after greeting them we are embarked on an endless voyage comparable in feeling and trajectory only to the deep middle dream which the practised dreamer slips into like a bone slips into its sockets” 11 likes
“It's good to be just plain happy; it's a little better to know that you're happy; but to understand that you're happy and to know why and how, in what way, because of what concatenation of events or circumstances, and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well that is beyond happiness, that is bliss, and if you have any sense you ought to kill yourself on tire spot and be done with it. And that's how I was-except that I didn't have the power or the courage to kill myself then and there. It was good, too, that I didn't do myself in because there were even greater moments to come, something beyond bliss even; something which if anyone had tried to describe to me I would probably not have believed.” 7 likes
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